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In this educational account, professor (at the Stevens Institute of New Jersey) and scientist Parker examines the violent impact of the seas on human society, and our long struggle to understand them. Parker begins with an exploration of tidal forces and their role in major historical events, from the parting of the Red Sea to D-Day. He moves on to hurricanes, rogue waves, and tsunamis, ending with the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and following tsunamis that killed more than 225,000 people. As Parker describes these sea-spawned disasters, he also documents the slow growth of scientific knowledge that gives us a chance to predict and prepare for them. Parker is more scholar than storyteller, and at times he loses the drama of his subject. Long discussions of such topics as "Laplace tidal equations" and "geophysical fluid dynamics" give the sense of a first-year lecture on oceanography. Nevertheless, any reader with an interest in the subject will appreciate Parker's expertise. Parker is optimistic about our ability to manage the dangers of the seas, but as the events of 2004 demonstrated, in spite of all we've learned, they still have the power to render us helpless. (Nov.) (c)
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ISBN-10:  0230616372
ISBN-13:  978-0230616370
Author:  Bruce Parker
Genre:  Outdoors & Nature, Professional & Technical
Publisher:  Palgrave Macmillan
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review by . April 28, 2011
Occasionally, people ask what drives to me to an author or particular topic. In the case of Bruce Parker's excellent book, The Power of the Sea; Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters, the answer is simple. A while ago, I read a book that had a little to do with rogue waves and a lot to do with extreme surfers. After that disappointment, I wanted to know more about the science of rogue waves, more anecdotes concerning giant waves. Bruce Parker's book fit …
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